Germany's national carrier Lufthansa has announced billions of euros worth of losses for 2020. Coronavirus disruption has catapulted the airline into an unprecedented crisis.
The German airline Lufthansa on Thursday announced a record loss of €6.7 billion ($8 billion) in the COVID-19-stricken year of 2020. That compared with a profit of €1.2 billion for 2019.
CEO Carsten Spohr described the pandemic year as "the most challenging in the history of our company."
The German, Belgian, Austrian and Swiss governments propped up the company with some €9 billion in 2020. Since then, the German government has been the largest individual shareholder in the airline.
"The past year was the most challenging in the history of our company -- for our customers, our employees and our shareholders," said Lufthansa chief executive Spohr.
The carrier last week announced that it was launching a new program of flights as part of an effort to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline said it would offer 33 long-haul flights from its main airports in Munich and Frankfurt that would include destinations in Greece, the Canary Islands and the Caribbean.
"From the summer we're expecting higher demand, once the travel restrictions start to be loosened as more testing and vaccinations are conducted," CEO Carsten Spohr said, also appealing to countries to lift those restrictions as soon as possible.
"Now's the time for internationally-recognized, digital vaccination- and test-certificates in place of travel bans and quarantines, so that people can once again visit their families and friends, meet business partners or get to know other countries and cultures," Spohr said.
He warned that the company expected another difficult year and further losses in 2021.
rc/msh (Reuters, dpa)